This is a guest post by Wendy Dessler from The Real Awards.
Weighing The Pros And Cons
Health insurance comes in many forms, some more popular than others. Essentially, it’s not always the rate you pay; sometimes the sort of coverage you get, the network where your coverage applies, and other collateral benefits may be more valuable than primary ones. You’ve got to weigh the pros and cons of different options in reference to your needs.
The primary options right now are HMO and PPO plans. HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization, and PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. Medicaid options are also available, there’s ACA coverage, and even a few non-traditional solutions like Medi-Share. Many of these provide similar coverage options through different avenues, but costs and health providers are of varying quality.
HMO and PPO solutions tend to be popular in part owing to the larger networks members are able to utilize. However, this design means certain individuals may have greater difficulty accessing approved medical practitioners within a given network. Such individuals have to go outside an HMO’s network to get healthcare and lose the associated cost cushion.PPOs tend to have more extensive networks, so this isn’t so much of an issue, but they’re also more expensive than HMOs in general. You can follow the hyperlink for a deeper look into what differentiates HMO and PPO plans. Essentially, HMOs are more cost-effective but have greater network limitations, PPO plans are a bit pricier, but have better networks.
Convenience Of Care Is A Big Factor In Choosing Your Provider
There are situations where one of these alternatives will be more convenient for you. Medical institutions aren’t evenly distributed across the United States, and sometimes conditions can develop which may require specialized practitioners that are far beyond your network.
The question becomes: is the cost of not having the care you’re seeking available through your network greater than the cost of the more extensive coverage? Different people will have different answers. Even so, there are ways of supplementing traditional insurance for a better overall deal.As an example, certain conditions qualify a person for government programs like Medicaid. Family and corporate associations can produce eligibility for certain medical assistance, employers may offer certain health coverage options, and alternative insurance options are out there. What some people do is balance out the down-side of one sort of medical insurance with another kind.
A Solid Balance Between Cost And Value
When you understand how each different option is designed, it will make it easier for you to find a solution which most cost-effectively represents your health needs. It’s no good paying top dollar for insurance only to find approved care is in a limited network halfway across the country. The thing is, there are a broad variety of HMO and PPO options to consider.
At the end of the day, if you’re going this route, it’ll be a little like shopping at a department store. Sure, Target has more niche goods, but Walmart is more affordable; even though they’re both in a similar range.Well, that’s the sort of difference that you’ll be looking at between two HMO or PPO providers. Only, the HMOs are traditional department stores, and PPOs are like a subscription bulk option—a Costco, or a Sam’s Club. So the PPO is sort of like the subscription department store of health insurance. You’re paying in a bit, but there’s a potential for more value.
Sam’s Club and Costco or Walmart and Target: in their categories, they offer the same things at core. In the details, they feature unique aspects of coverage. Similarly, the best way to choose between hypothetical HMO or PPO designs in health insurance would be to figure out your needs and budget, then what sort of network coverage is provided.
They may not both have the same doctors available, locally, through your network. It may be in order to ask your primary physician which network he’s involved with. Doctors can not only help you figure out which specific option would be best for your region, they may be able to appraise you of additional care options outside traditional insurance.
So finally, be sure to inform your decision from multiple angles. Advice from trusted medical practitioners, friends, and family can help. Supplement that with what you can find through blogs like this one.